“I hope you have time to wander and tend.” These words were gifted to me from a friend who knows a bit of my schedule. Wander and tend…ah….the time of no agendas, where one can follow what draws the spirit and there, wait and care for what emerges.
Restoration happens as I take time to wander and tend. Sometimes it is only a few minutes of small tasks in my home, or gardens: moments of awareness and care. Pulling a weed, straightening a picture, recycling last week’s Sunday paper… Other days I leave ordinary life behind for quiet, allowing the woods to mother me back into life. Wandering and tending has deep purpose and it is what restores the soul.
This morning I write from a small hermitage north of the Cities. It snowed several inches last night, and I woke before the threshold period where dawn outlines the woods and night crosses to light. A warm mug in hand, candles lit, I watch for deer. They are out there, somewhere. They do their own style of “wander and tend” before the sun comes up and the hunters’ shots ring. For as remarkable as these times are, it is never easy to get to these places of “wander and tend.”
“I…just…really…can’t go…” streams through my mind on days leading up to any personal retreat on my calendar. It is followed with the mantra, “I shouldn’t…I have entirely too much to do, why did I schedule this?? I wonder if I can reschedule…” My mind goes into list making mode to prove its point.
I don’t know about you, but my mind is adept in reminding me of all of the reasons why I should not retreat, but rather stay home and stay busy. “I should be doing yard work, I should prep for an upcoming trip, should clean the basement, oh…there is that workshop I need to create…and scrub the toilets, or there are the taxes…” (Seriously, my mind can work hard to convince me – after all taxes aren’t due for months and for pete’s sake I don’t even scrub the toilets in my house, gratefully my husband does.) Needless to say, my mind stages a revolution to prevent time away and it does its very best to convince me I have no time for such “triviality.” “I’ll be fine, really, I don’t need to go.”
Time away is on my calendar these days – in permanent ink (see above reasons), but it hasn’t always been this way. Not until a bit later in life did I curate an appreciation of solitude. Looking back, I now see I was fearful of silence, instead filling my mind with noise – anything to help me drowned out my thoughts. Fears often run below our awareness and our lives bow to their unspoken stories. Thoughts would speed through my head (see previous paragragh for examples.) Thinking seemed to send me spiraling into overwhelm and anxiety and it was easier, so I thought, to just keep busy. Instead of keeping my thoughts at bay, resistance to my thoughts was what gave my overwhelm and anxiety fuel to keep going.
While fears and old narratives still remind me of reasons not to go, they pale in comparison to all the reasons I now know I need to go. My stories of the benefits of “wander and tend” now outweigh the hyped up reasons fear uses to keep me busy and stuck. I found the silence to be insightful, surprising, painful and healing. All of it. And what comes from it, every time, is gratitude.
Find time to wander and tend. Walk, listen deeply and then follow your guidance.
Your soul knows what you need.
P.S. Don’t let it come to, when in tears, Keeley finally told (ok, she actually screamed at) Roy Kent, “I just to be by myself!” (Ted Lasso, S2, E8)
If this resonates with you and would like a chance to get away, I am going to offer a couple retreats over these next months. If you are interested, you can find more info in the newsletter or on the website.
Here’s to meeting you on the freshly snow covered trail…